Words: Jacqui Martin
The Sheila Foundation is on a mission to ensure equality and eliminate gender bias in the art sector.
In an especially trying time for artist’s globally, this philanthropic initiative is providing a new opportunity for contemporary female artists by offering a fellowship valued at $20,000.
Aiming to make a practical difference to artists and art spaces, this unique fellowship offers support to artists at a critical juncture of their career, whether they be emerging, mid-career or senior artists, and assists in the presentation and documentation of the work at a Contemporary Art Organisations Australia (CAOA) contemporary art space.
As the recipient of the inaugural fellowship, Sydney based artist Salote Tawale, enters a significant stage of her career. This opportunity will assist in her creation of a bold, new and exciting body of work for her forthcoming solo exhibition I don’t see colour at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) in July 2021. Tawale’s works focus on cultural identity, drawing on her personal experiences of race, class, ethnicity and gender formed by growing up in suburban Australia. In granting this opportunity to Tawale, Sheila is making strides in its aim to paint women back into Australia’s art history and highlight the immense talent of female contemporary artists that often goes overlooked.
Sheila Foundation board director Michela Fini and her husband Adrian have pledged a donation to create this unique fellowship, which will be awarded annually over a three-year period. This boost to the art sector and to female artists in particular, was of the upmost importance to Fini. As COVID has wreaked havoc globally, it has familiarised many with the financial circumstances that artists have been coping with for decades.
PICA will be the first CAOA partner to host the fellowship. Director Amy Barrett-Lennard comments, “It is now more important than ever for women artists to receive this kind of support. We are thrilled to be working with Salote Tawale on this significant solo exhibition and commend the foresight of Sheila Foundation and Michela and Adrian Fini in embarking on this exciting new fellowship.”
Image: Artist Salote Tawale. Courtesy: Sheila Foundation.